A FISHING enthusiast was shocked when he reeled in a stingray while casting off along the Ferring coastline.
Ben McGowan, 33, Bruce Avenue, Goring, was fishing with a friend last weekend when he landed the most unusual catch of his ten-years of fishing.
Mr McGowan said: “I do a fair bit of fishing but I was just shocked to catch a stingray. The barb stuck out really prominently and had a fairly sharp point to it.
“I was wary of getting a barb in me. I think with the shock of what happened to Steve Irwin and the thought of being out there swimming and you could tread on a stingray, they can do quite a bit of harm.”
The ray, which was caught using lugworm bait, weighed in at 4.5lbs, before Mr McGowan threw it back into the water.
Mr McGowan said the ray was caught in mid-afternoon from an ‘average’ tide of around 6.3 metres.
Biologist Steve Savage confirmed that the appearance of the ray was uncommon.
He said: “I have heard of other common stingrays that have occasionally been caught from the shore in Sussex, but it’s not a common occurrence.”
Mr Savage added that there were 21 species of ray in UK waters and they could grow up to 250cm in length. He said he had not heard of any one being stung by one in the UK.
“In other countries where they can come close to shore and lay on shallow sand, people can accidentally step on them and they react by whipping up their tail and sting.”